tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN December 4, 2015 5:00pm-6:01pm EST
secretary carter provide the details of initiative in his testimony and described where we are starting to see some positive developments and where we may see additional progress in the days ahead. .. in closing as i complete my initial assessment and campaign i believe we have started to identify and implement a number of initiatives within the campaign forward.
we are not satisfied or complacent about where we are and we won't be until isil is defeated. thank you again for the opportunity to join you and i look forward to your questions. >> thank you sir rate as we move into questions we need to make the most of the limited time we have with the secretary and general dunford so just as a warning we will have to be strict on the time. if you want to make a four-minute speech you won't get much of an answer so let's be respectful of the time and i want to instruct staff to put me on the clock starting now. mr. secretary, i want to go back to the point that mike vickers made in the article. you know i have worked with him a lot in the obama administration and he was in previous administration to too. his point is whatever we would do if they really were successful in attacking new york and washington we should do it now before the attack occurs which makes a lot of sense to me so you outlined eight areas of
adaptation you said of greater effort. why were we doing that before? >> the principle reason why we now have opportunities we haven't had in the past is twofold mr. chairman. the first is, the identification of ground forces starting with the kurds in northern syria which i mentioned, the syrian arab coalition, peshmerga and other forces and forces in the south of syria that are willing to fight isil. they have been hard to find. we have been looking for them and we have identified a number of them and by the way we are looking for more and we hope the syrian arab coalition as it rolls out towards raqqa is like a snowball that continues to gather people who are tired of isil's rule and are willing to fight isil and have them join with us enabling them and
accompanying them as appropriate all the way down to raqqa. the other ingredient is our intelligence which was not so great in the beginning of this as you know because we were surprised again and again and again has improved tremendously. and by the way some of that as a result of secretary vickers on work with. that has given us opportunities both in airstrikes and ground operations like rates and so forth that we didn't otherwise have. so those are two of the things that have contributed to our being able to do more and i want to repeat something that chairman dempsey, excuse me chairman dunford just said which is we are looking for and finding new opportunities for actionable effort every day and to your core point secretary i think that's absolutely right. we are doing everything that we
possibly can to defeat this enemy. i describe their strategy. i describe those efforts and we are doing everything i should say that will be affect this that we judge will be affected effective we are doing now and i think to answer your question directly we should do everything we can, and chairman dunford is also right the president asked me and him to continue provide them with opportunities in addition to the two other factors the source of actionable ideas based on his terrific service in afghanistan. >> the defense authorization bill the president signed into law last week gives some additional opportunities and says basically if you find the government of iraq is not inclusive that arms can be provided directly to the kurds, to sunni tribes and others.
is that an option that you would consider recommending? >> we are sending arms direct you to the kurds. the mechanism by which that works is they are as customs approval by the iraqi government and i will come back to why we stipulate that but there is no delay and there is a large number of arms and other kinds of equipment have reached the iraqi kurds from us and by the way i should say i think more than 12 other countries. we do that through the government of iraq and likewise much more slowly as i said frustratingly, sunnis to the government of iraq as we continue to believe that supporting a multi-sectarian approach to governance in iraq is ultimately the most effective approach. we have considered the
alternatives and there are other people have considered it. it's a considered judgment to try to pursue these to the government of prime minister has indicated willingness to do that politics is complicated and we don't always get what we wanted that's particularly the case as representative smith indicated in the matter of arming training and equipping sunnis. >> thank you. mr. smith. >> just following up on that i think that's the clearest, well two big problems into questions. what do we do in iraq to find a legitimate fighting force to counter isil? is not really coming on at baghdad. during the surged seven or eight years ago was to get the sunni tribes to turn on al qaeda at the time and seems to me that's a kind of thing we are going to need to do again is to reach out to those tribes and take advantage of over actions by
isis group's but i'm not getting a clear picture here other than what we have heard over and over again which is we hope that at some point the bag that government stops persecuting sunnis and starts including them. but there doesn't seem to be any possibility of that. so what is our strategy for getting sunnis in iraq to be willing to fight isis? what is the concrete clear plan? >> the concrete clear plan has four streams by which we are trying to get sunnis included in the fight and let me just go through them. the first is through the iraqi security forces themselves which are now in sick terry in terms about 20% sunni. that's one of the whole problems from the beginning of the collapse of the iraqi security forces. at our training sites we have trained iraqi security forces, including sunnis and they are
joining the fight in the area of romani -- ramadi. our training sites are turning about every month through the second string is the tribal fighters as you indicated and they are first of all the popular mobilization force, which is a kind of militia type force, not independent of the iraqi government and the iraqi's , the iraqi government and this is where we have a problem, has authorized many more shia and sunni. we need them to authorize more sunni and then we are prepared to train them. those are the so-called fighters you indicated. third is the iraqi counterterrorism service which we have trained of the most effective force and buy me the peshmerga in the north who are extremely effective. the last thing i will say and i
know i'm going on but it's complicated, we are also working with the sunni police. this is important because remember isil is in sunni territory so it's not going to work for shia forces to participate in holding and governing us. we need sunni police forces and we are working on them too so that when ramadi is recaptured although when mosul is recaptured the piece can be kept there by the people who are local sunni and recognize local personnel. >> in syria, the big challenge there like i said we are fighting both isis and assad and i don't think we have succeeded with isis until we remove assad and again i'm nowhere talking about allies. but there's a huge problem because despite what they say their plan is simple, they are trying to keep assad no matter what. iran, the same story and that
just perpetuates the fight. what is the hope and the plan because i think the key here is to get russia and iran to realize that assad is not going to be able to protect their interests and they can't right now because they can't control the country. how do we get to the point where we get a replacement for assad to take that went out of isis' sales and present a more representative coalition government? >> government? >> you were writes the political transition in syria is essential so ultimately resolving it. it's a civil war that fuels isil that fuels him nusra and fuels all this extremism in the civil war there and there is a political transition in which moderate opposition and some of the structures of the syrian government not bashar assad, but constitutes the new government of syria they can restore some decency and some governments to
the territory of syria. that's the transition we are looking for. you asked about the russians. russians have a lot of influence with assad. they are using it in the wrong way. i said this repeatedly, the russians are wrongheaded in their strategy. they are going at it backwards. they said they were going to go into fight i sell and promote a political transition. they backed assad and targeted people who are part of the opposition that needs to be part of syria's future so they are off on the wrong foot and for us to associate ourselves with what they are doing they'd have to get on the right foot. >> thank you. >> mr. jones. >> mr. chairman take young mr. secretary and general dunford thank you so much for being here today and your leadership. i have listened to your testimony and i read in the papers and classified briefings you all have got an unbelievable complex task on behalf of the
american people and certainly our military. thank you. a few of us when mr. boehner was the speaker asked for a debate on the floor of the house for a new aumf. in fact while he was still speaker of the house he related to the president that you need to send us aumf which president obama did in february of this year, 2015. since becoming the new speaker of the house, 22 republicans and democrats wrote to mr. ryan and i want to read one sentence. we wrote this on november the sixth. taken altogether, these represent a significant escalation of united states military operations in the region and placing u.s. military personnel must write lines of combat operations.
we hear from the senate and they say we need to put boots on the ground. we continue to not need our constitutional responsibilities and before i get to the questions i want to remind the american people but james madison said. the power to declare war including the power of judges and war is fully and exclusively destined in the legislature, not the executive branch but the legislature. i would like to ask u.n. general dunford in this undertaking of trying to defeat this evil group known as isis, would it help your cause if the congress said its constitutional responsibility of debating a new aumf, would you give strength to what you are trying to do and especially with all the countries who are our allies? would it help you in this fight
to beat isil with that the congress would meet its constitutional responsibility, and i would appreciate a statement from each one of you. thank you. >> i will go first. the president has submitted an aumf. i looked at it carefully. this was some months ago. i testified about it and i asked myself two questions. the first was whether the aumf as the president proposed it would give us the authority to conduct the campaign as necessary to defeat isil and without going into detail my answer to that was yes. when he submitted it, the second thing i asked myself was with the show to our troops that their country is behind them? i think they know we are behind them. i think they know you are behind them. i believe this shows the country was behind them and their effort and i think they deserve to know
that and for that reason i think it's desirable to have an aumf. the only thing i would say is the lawyers felt they don't technically need one, i will just add that. we can conduct what we need to to do with them a lot but i think it would be helpful principally because i think you can't do enough to show the troops that we are behind them and this is a big deal and it's serious in the country is behind them. >> sir i have a similar answer. it's my understanding that we currently have all the authorities that we need to prosecute the campaign against isil but i absolutely believe that a clear and unequivocal statement of support for the men and women in a prosecuting campaign and our allies from elected officials would be absolutely helpful. >> mr. chairman since i took all my time last highway what you know i can do it in five minutes so therefore i yield back prius. >> thanks for being a good example. ms. sanchez. >> thank you mr. chairman and
thank you gentlemen once again for being the forest. i asked several questions some of which averted an answer but let me add a couple to what you are thinking of. you said that we are now arming the kurds. the last time i talked to barzani he suggested that they needed heavier duty weapons versus light arms so my question, my first question would be what are we arming them with? is it really for the battlefield secondly i would like to acknowledge or us this whole issue with respect to the iraqi army and the inability for us to really get it degraded or for iraq's government to get it integrated. i remember back under the constitution and under the deal the whole issue for example of having a vote on the kurd area being an entity for example. that was something i continue to
ask our military leaders at the time who were overseeing iraq and the reality was they kept saying the hardest part, that's the hardest part we are going to get to and we never got to it and we left. now we see that in the sense that we still are not able to get, to have the military or police force is very integrated so what do we do about that? so we have been taking back territory in iraq and one of the issues we had is we always take take -- we need to leave troops there or leave somebody there in order to hold onto it. otherwise we end up losing that territory. so what is our strategy to do that? and the recruitment effort, i would like and i'm sure it would be not within the public round but i would love to get a brief
on the cyber issues and how we are countering the recruitment effort with respect to isis, isil what everyone to call them these days from a global perspective but in particular are we doing anything that you can talk about in a setting with respect to the recruitment efforts in the region itself and lastly diplomacy intelligence military economic, it's not just military that we need here. so secretary speak a little too what are some of the efforts we are doing to counteract what is really something we need to eliminate which is isis? thank you. >> i will touch on a few of the points in asked the chairman with respect to arming the kurds mr. chairman and the iraqi security forces. he talked about -- it's essential that we recognize even
though we, i believe this is absolutely true at the center of the campaign because there must be a military defeat of isil and i also believe that iraq and syria is at the heart of isil have to be defeated there. that said this is a global fight. it's a multidimensional fight and the intelligence they are and the homeland security sphere and in the law enforcement sphere and i have much more to say about that except i have begun to convene with secretary kerry and i appreciate his cooperation in this regard, all of the agencies and going through what we are all doing to make sure the right hand knows what the left is so for example in cyber, you're right i can talk about here. i'm happy to come to in a classified briefing.
it's very important the fbi, jim, homeland security intelligence community and our dod people. the last thing i will say is that you asked that we talked about ahold forced? the necessity for ahold forced is at the root of our strategy. our strategy is to find, identify and naval forces that cannot only take territory but hold territory because we know from the last 14 years and that's the tricky part, the hard part about giving victory to stick it to find people who can hold territory and government easily so that the likes of isil never comes back and as i said they are hard to find. they do exist but they are hard to find and we are going to try to make a snowball. >> cumbersome and with regard to the kurds come to as you know you have been there many times,
the kurds have a full range of heavy vehicles and r. susman as they have the capability to take the fight to isis and a taxpayer resent success demonstrates that. i was there in october was there in october and i spoke to president barzani and he identified additional support he wanted specific ammunition types he felt he didn't have in sufficient quantities and we are working to immediately address that shortfall so my assessment is they have the military capability to do what needs to be done and providing aviation support another combined arms capabilities. >> mr. chairman if you would like to amplify please feel free but try to keep us close on time. general forbes. >> i'm going to ask you to have your answer as distinct as possible and if you want to elaborate you can do that in writing. you heard that secretary of defense in writing and verbally that we are at war. who declare that were? >> chairman representative
forbes, i think what the secretary is saying because we discussed this is we view the fight against isil as a threat to the united states and we are mobilizing all military capabilities that are necessary. >> who would have actually made that declaration? is that something you would make? >> it was a declaration of war by congress. >> but has that declaration been made? how does the secretary say where it were? i only have five minutes. >> i would ask the secretary to respond in writing. general dunford is the chairman of the joint chiefs issue no? >> we are technically not at war. >> that we currently contained isil? >> we have not contained isil. >> have they been duped gain since any time in 2010?
>> tactically they have been strategically vague. >> you asked me for current strategy in your best personal and professional military judgment that we currently implemented, do we have a strategy that will defeat and destroy isil? >> i think the right components for a strategy are in place representative forbes. >> is that this strategy recommended by the joint chiefs? >> the current strategy in the military dimension the strategy is the strategy recommended by the joint chiefs. >> to heaven and knowledge whether your producers -- predecessor regarded the appropriate strategy for dealing with isil and is best personal professional military judgment or best judgment of the joint chiefs? >> i'm confident. >> do you have any knowledge as to whether he was consulted? >> i was a member of the joint chiefs. >> was the strategy in 2010 the strategy recommended by the joint chiefs?
>> i can't speak all the way back to 2010 congressmen. >> how long we own the joint chiefs? >> 11 months before summing my current position. >> during that 11 months were strategies recommended by the joint chiefs? >> we did make a recommendation of the strategy during those 11 months. almaguer temptations we made happened subsequent to that time which was him i was chairman. >> general and a best personal professional military judgment you believe our strategy since 2010 is the appropriate military strategies to defeat and destroy isil? >> congressman forbes i think we have the right elements and strategy in place today. >> did we have them since 2010? >> i don't believe the campaign was fully resourced in 2010. >> with that i yield back in feel free to elaborate back to that anything you want in writing. >> mr. mr. secretary if there's having a lot disabled the comments. >> i'm not using this and some
technical sense that this is serious business. that's what i mean by war. it feels like that to our people who are engaged in it and it has that kind of gravity so it's not a technical thing to say. too descriptive. >> mr. chairman in all due respect to the secretary, the word war is not just some light term. when we use war it is a technical word and it needs to be used very carefully i think whether we use it in this committee or use it elsewhere and with that i yield back. >> ms. davis. >> thank you mr. chairman and thank you to both of you for being here and the challenges that you are facing. i wanted to go back to aumf for a second because i know that you said you have whatever you need basically in terms of the authorities and yet i have an understanding back in afghanistan for example that in
fact we have had some inability to act preemptively. would that be the case in any way? >> since general dunford was our commander there, i don't have a good answer to that. >> congressman davis afghanistan is a declared area of hostilities and certainly as the commander there we didn't have any restrictions on my ability to act when there was a threat to u.s. forces or to the mission. >> and again preemptively. >> we have actionable intelligence that was a threat to the force or to the mission or during my time in afghanistan a threat to afghan security forces they were authorized to act against individuals or groups designated as hostile. >> thank you. i appreciate that. i believe there was a misunderstanding at some point. i wanted to go back and talk about the structure campaign and
wondering whether there was some decision not to act as quickly in that regard as perhaps we could have. while there was what could be considered a longer wait to do that. and what the impacts of that actually are in terms of the impact on the pocketbook of course of isil, on the oil trade and what impact it might have on the future actually of the region itself. >> congressman davis i will start with that. back in the spring a detailed analysis was done in conjunction with the state department on the oil infrastructure in syria and iraq to identify the critical if targeted would have the greatest impact against the revenue stream of isil. in a couple months i was heavily studied and brought to secretary carter and secretary kerry about four weeks ago. we have been striking oil
infrastructure but we were able to do it in a much more sophisticated and effective way subsequent to the study being completed so that's why you are seeing a significant increase in the temple of our strikes over the last couple of weeks. we estimate approximately 43% of the revenue stream that isil derives from oil has been effective over the past 30 days and we are continuing now to address as we pursue not only strikes against their oil revenue but also other industries from which they drive and primary funds. >> anything else and the terms of the cooperation with allies in that regard as well? >> the coalition we have what's called an air task order so the coalition is integrated in the tasking order. the coalition is supporting the strikes that we are considered considered -- fighting against infrastructure. >> thank you and i want to shift quickly. what are your concerns about pakistan's commitment to
avoiding terrorist organizations? >> we hosted pakistani leaders in washington and the chairman and i just in recent weeks and we do press them on the need to fight terrorists and to recognize that terrorism is a threat to pakistan as well as to its neighbors and by the way i should add to u.s. forces in the region so we are concerned about it. we did press them on that and i urge them to recognize what we think is true which is that that is in fact the principle threat to the pakistani state today that comes from terrorism and organizations within. >> congresswoman davis we are never satisfied with the level of cooperation and support we
have from from pakistan but we do have open lines of vindication and a secretary carter said we recently have the pakistanis here. i met with my counterpart and what i do believe is that over the past 18 to 24 months in particular pakistanis realize that violent extremism presents an existential threat to the state of pakistan and i think as a result the level of cooperation has improved over the past year and a half or two years. it is not today my assessment and we will continue to work with our pakistani partners to make sure that it does get better. ..
that stands by the islamic state. it is a particular group of very radical extremists, and that's an important distinction to make. i've always heard the president make the distinction. >> thank you. he makes this into a political football using language on foreign soil that has never been said for political purposes. this committee tries not to do that and i think the president should do the exact same thing. he also said that we were gaining background, that isis has taken and diminishing recruiting capacity, implying that it's harder for them to recruit fighters. so my question is it, is it a bigger recruiting tool for
attacks like paris or expanding territory? because the president said and it's harder for them to recruit and they are losing fighters. >> i'll start and the chairman can pitch in. i do think that attacks like paris are aimed at and probably have some effect on recruiting to the cause people worldwide who observe that, young radicals. we have had some in our own country. within syria and iraq, recruiting for fighters on the ground there, we are trying to dry up that supply of recruits both by making it harder to get into syria and destroying them when they're there as well as ultimate, which is to create local forces and a local system
of governance that's more attractive to people than joining violent extremists. >> i believe what isis is trying to do is invensility. they will continue to do two things, conduct externals operation that is will incentivize others to join the movement and also attack resources to the movement. >> general, do you think -- which do you think they will focus on, will they do it simultaneously or broader attacks here? >> congressman, they will take advantage of all of the above whenever the opportunity presents itself. >> thank you, yield back. >> mr. langevin.
>> thank you, secretary. i would like to turn your attention to your statement where you talk about the specials operators will conduct raids, free hostages, gather intelligence and capture isil leaders, generates more targets, more raids and momentum. the line that was in the statement but you didn't mention in your -- in your oral testimony was that this force will be in a position to conduct unilateral positions in syria. what does that mean and how extensive would those raids be? >> that is true, that is in the statement. it's very important. we've obviously conducted such raids already. if you remember the raid that led to the killing of abusaeb
and the capture of his wife, woman that was held as a slave in which we freed 70 prisoners who were going to be executed and lost a service member in that action, and this is important -- this is important capability because it takes advantage of what we are good at, we are good at intelligence, mobility, surprise. we have a long reach that no one else has and it puts everybody on notice in syria. you don't know who at night is going to be coming through the window, and that's the sensation that we want all of isil's leadership and followers. >> i think the one point is the intelligence piece. i think that's the most important thing. our effectiveness is in quality
of blgz -- intelligence is what we have and that's when the secretary talks about the virtue of cycle. >> so you'd expect that the raids -- use of special forces going to syria are going to increase or would the primary focus be within iraq itself? >> our operations will be intel driven. the enemy doesn't respect boundaries, neither do we. we are going to go where the enemy and conduct operations where they most defectively degrade capabilities of the enemies. >> to what extent are the financial flows of each of the bad actors present in syria, including isil vulnerable and to what extent are we allies and partners disrupting those flows?
>> i'll start, chairman spoke about the infrastructure. as we learn more, we are able to target that part of critical infrastructure like oil. chairman mentioned cement and also to that precision allows parts that are fully the revenues of structure. we don't wish to destroy oil infrastructure of syria and iraq because some days those countries are going to be restored and we are getting better at distinguishing those two and that better intelligence, insight has allowed us to take this next step, and i think it's going to be pretty effective. we are looking to do more.
>> just a quick follow-up, congressman. we do assess that the majority of revenue is generated within iraq and syria in the way that is the secretary outlined, oil industry primarily, other industries like cement and taxes on local people. some of those taxes are actually taxes on resources paid by the government iraq and syria. we have been able to kind of stop that as well. i do think we are in a position and had pretty significant impact on the revenue source of core isil. >> my last question. we talk about running agents in the region particularly the sunni states and the area. how do we make them to be first priority given the fact that saudi arabia, for example, their primary concern is iran and expansion? >> in view of the time it's a very important question.
we will get back in written form. very important question. >> thank you. >> thank you. mr. wilson. >> thank you for being here, general dunford i have had the opportunity to represent paris island. you transform them with the highest level of fulfillment they they can achieve. it's awesome what the marine corps does. but the president has established a legacy of failure not accepting common sense proposals to promote peace. this was cited by the washington post editorial who courageously confirmed, quote, he withdrew all u.s. troops from iraq when experts advised that 15,000 would help keep a fracture piece. he bombed libya but opposed a small training force that might
have stabilized the new government w. the president not accepting recommendations, mr. secretary, there are plans of deployment of 50 special operations soldiers to syria, the white house press secretary has said these special operations forces will be able to assess the situation on the ground and help local fighters with tactics and logistics, given the divide with kurds and syrian forces, do you believe that this would be successful and what are the decision points for this strategy? >> well, we do believe it has every chance of being successful but this is a transactional relationship with these forces wherein we provide them some support, we provide them some equipment and we see how they do. in fact, that's what we are doing all over.
so far they have shown a willingness to take territory, made good use of us -- of our equipment, and that's the reason why we are prepared to do more with them, and by the way, as i said, i hope will be like a snowball, if they do well, we will do more. that will gather more fighters into their movement, and of course, where we would like them to go down is to raqaa and claim this so-called capital of the so-called caliphate. it's very transactional because we have to see how they are doing and what their level of motivation and effectiveness is. >> of course, we want you to be successful. mr. sectary, the basis of meeting is to strategy.
democratic of california has expressed a sense of urgency. recently she said, quote, we have to be prepared for an isis attack in the u.s. homeland. i've never been concerned. i read the intelligence faithfully and then she added isil is not contained. it is expanding. just hours before the mass murders in paris. we had, quote, from the start our goal has been to contain isis and keep them contained, end of quote. what specifically does containment of isis mean to you and in practical terms what is dod doing that it should do to contain isis? >> well, our strategy is to destroy isil. in syria and iraq and anywhere else if it arises and with respect to the homeland, while
we don't have any credible eminent threats that i can relate to you today, fortunately we do take homeland security very seriously and we particularly take the protection of our own personnel seriously for among other reasons the fact that they were -- many of them were singled out by these guys like hussein that were trying to recruit americans. a few months i went to chattanooga where there was a ceremony for six of service members gunned down by somebody who had been radicalized basically online. born and raised in chattanooga, tennessee. this is serious business the violent extremist tendencies and while we need to get its heart in syria and iraq, we need to
recognize that this is elsewhere and protect ourselves and our people. >> thank you very much. ms. bordallo. >> thank you very much for being at the hearing this morning. gentlemen, having just return from a trip last week to egypt and saudi arabia, our main mission being the influence of isil in this region, i came back, and this is a personal observation, with the yours idet we have to step up or accelerate strategies with the assistance of allies, of course, air power, boots on the ground. one thing that was brought out in the country briefings was the sharing of intelligence information. it's not up to par. and if we can accelerate with
all of this power, with our allies, i think it would be one way to wipe out this barbarian group once and for all. gentlemen, the entire world is on alert, there are isil in our states, in america. i'm wondering what your ideas on accelerating to wipe out isil and what about the intelligence information sharing? >> i will come to the intel piece first. first of all, i think your observation is actually exactly right on the mark and is a fact. in the wake of paris that's one of the things that was identified. we have a reasonably good information sharing within the united states, certainly not perfect but we work that pretty hard every day. as you saw in the wake of paris
other nations not only have a challenge sharing information with other countries, but they have difficulty sharing information with other agencies within the same country. that's been recognized as an issue. certainly as secretary carter work on the foreign fighter issue, that has been identified as the single biggest thing that inhibits our ability to stop the flow of foreign fighters, is information and intelligence sharing. we think it's 120 countries who have individuals who have gone to syria and iraq to fight and presumably will return home at some point. with regard to accelerating the campaign, you know, secretary carter and i have talked about what we are doing inside of iraq and syria but also recognized that this is a threat that requires global strategy. and as we are conducting operations as syria and iraq and trying to create pressure simultaneous, we are trying to do the same thing in all the
other locations that isil exists. there's certainly a number of branches that are striving to become part of isil. >> but i really think that, you know, it's going beyond what we ever expected and now we're all just up in the air about whether this is going to hit our own country. i just hope that we can work together and try to beef up. we have been with our allies now for a long time, many of them training their troops. i do think we are ready to step it up and once in for all and wipe out this barbarian group, and i yield back, mr. chairman. >> thank you for the chair lady.
>> thank you, mr. chairman. i know that you're aware of the fact that there's been allegations that intelligence officials have pleased those in washington. i'm holding a daily beast article. article goes onto say general is looking into perhaps cooking the intelligence to make the picture more rosy than what is occurring. it goes onto have concern that, in fact, emails and documents may have been deleted before they were turned over to investigators concerning doctrine or making -- in fact, the chairman i saw in the intelligence committee, also chairman said a letter inquiring about the allegations of those documents having been deleted.
now, i have always attended the classified portions of briefings of this committee and you said you can only go into so far in this hearing. in your written testimony you said -- some of this i'm going to tell you what's unclassified, but you say we are gathering momentum on the battlefield in syria and iraq. you say all of these efforts from northern syria through iraq have shrunk is isil control territory in both. you can understand my concern that while we have allegations intelligence to make things a rosie picture and you sit here before us that you're gathering momentum, dunford admitted next to you that isil is not contained. i personally believe as many do that not only do we have a strategy, you can't have a strategy unless it's based on accurate picture of what's
happening. and the threat that we have, mr. secretary, how do you respond of the allegations that the department of the defense, perhaps even your own testimony today is painting a much rosier picture than what you're painting in. >> first of all i insist on candid advice. >> i appreciate that commitment, mr. secretary. you've made testimony that the footprint has been shrunk. you say we are gathering momentum. no one has ever said that to us before. and when you put that in the same context of having allegations that they've docker
and you have a high bar to pass and that the battlefield is turning our direction. how do you justify that in. >> let's just be clear of what i said. the territory under isil's control has shrunk. that's a fact. that's not a fact that i would suggest is the end of the story. i tell you we need more mowment -- momentum. we need to keep that up. well, kurds, for example. >> in iraq? >> kurds also, for example. >> and was that -- >> that's a fact. is there's still a lot farther to go, you bet there is. and i'm committed and i will be and i have been absolutely candid with you. i expect intelligence officials to be candid with me. i can't comment on an
investigator general investigation. >> so, mr. secretary, it's my time. the kurds have made advances, that we have momentum and isil is shrinking? >> we are gathering momentum. that's not a declaration of victory. >> are we winning? >> we will win. >> are we winning now? >> we are going to win. >> both sides of the aisles think you do not have a strategy. your presentation here today shows a disconnect between with all of the information we are receiving and really what's being placed into the united states' effort.
i yield back. >> i want to thank both witnesses for their testimony today, particularly in my opinion powerful statement, if we want to do something on our side of the table we need to act, we need to move forward on authorization and the impact that would have on those wearing the uniform taking the fight. frankly, i just hope people will take that to heart. the finger pointing that goes on here at the same time since we have been sitting in february when the president sent over for language and have done nothing is just totally inexcusable and unacceptable. i want to focus for a moment that we did actually in 2014 move forward on title 10 authorization, which was incorporated into ndaa that gave authority for train and equip operations. you alluded to it, mr. secretary in terms of that program.
again, out-of-country training has fizzled out. is that a dead letter now -- are you using it in other ways to, again, take the fight to isil? >> well, we are continuing to train and equip forces. we are doing it in different ways as we learn more and we are now particularly in syria we have found groups that already exist and are fighting and which we can enable with special capabilities and train people to accompany them or send americans to accompany them. that is preferable to trying to create entirely new units by taking individuals out of the country and trying to put them together. we're still -- we are going to
try everything that works. so we are doing some of the latter down in southern syria and having some success at doing that. but we are also continued to look and to find force that is are willing to fight isil and give them the equipment, training and enabling that will allow them to be successful. we are doing it all over syria and iraq, and that's the key to getting continued momentum. >> chairman, anything to add to that? >> congressman, i think the thing that's important we are going to need ground forces and regional ground forces to be successful. it really is a question as the secretary outlined. we changed the method but state has remained consistent and authorities are exactly the ones we need to continue to progress. i will give you an example.
we were training individuals, we try today send them back to the fight in syria. so we decided to go with vetted groups and we are currently supporting a syrian arab coalition, which is one of the groups that has had success and is moving to raqaa, that authority is what we are using to support those forces right now. >> and i appreciate you mentioning that specific scenario because, again, it shows that there are tangible results when we move as a congress on a bipartisan basis to give you the tools to succeed and that's why it's really not just, you know, cable news debating topic here in terms of authorization. i mean, there is real value in terms of helping us accomplish the goal here as congress.
you know, listening to the military needs and moving forward and giving people the tools to succeed and the taking of a whole is an appropriate example of that. again, there's no intelligence question about whether that happened. it's been reported in every international media out there. it succeeded and we should be looking for those opportunities on our side of the witness table in terms of giving you the tools to move forward. with that, i yield back, mr. chairman. >> mr. kline. >> thank you, gentlemen, for being here today. if you go back to the 9/11 commission report they very clearly stated that we are at war, that we have an enemy, islamic terrorists and they are waging war against us. i would argue they are continuing to wage war against us. whether we like it or not, we are in a war.
having said that, it would be useful if we pass military force to clear up this kind of discussion. general dunford u when i i was n baghdad a few months ago, i was talking to american troops, even though we don't have troops on the ground, there were some 3,500 american troops on the ground. but i was told we can't have anymore than that, that we are limit, so my question is, is that true? are we limited in what we do by a number, whether it's 3,500, maybe now it's 3,550 since we are sending special oacialses -- operating forces? are we limited to a number? >> i don't believe we are limited to the amount 3500. we are managing 3500 because that's the numbers the troops